Today Susanne and I will attend the Detroit Tigers’ opening baseball game. This year will be somewhat different. We attended the Tigers’ home openers for many years while pastoring in metro Detroit. Today we will be attending their first game of the season, and it just happens to be at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, home of the Tamp Bay Rays. Susanne and I will be sporting our Detroit Tigers paraphernalia.
I love baseball! I have followed it since I was a little boy. I understand it is not as much in favor as it once was, but I am excited about another season and opening day! Here is what I appreciate about baseball and how it has helped me in other areas of my life:
- A New Season, and fans are filled with hope! Regardless of how your team did last year, it is a new season, and hope springs eternal! Learn from baseball. Last year is over, it is a new season, and there is hope for you and me!
- You will not always succeed, and that is okay! Baseball players who fail to get a hit 70% of the time will likely get elected to the Hall of Fame. The lesson? You will often fail and have bad days, but you can still succeed if you keep swinging the bat!
- The players are still members of the team. Baseball keeps individual stats, but success comes because you are part of a team. The World Series champions are always a team, not an individual. Like in life, I am an individual but must be part of a team.
- The Umpire is always right. In life, there are arbitrators. In all games, there are rules and someone who helps to enforce and interpret the rules. At times the umpire’s call seems incorrect. Yet all baseball players agree to play within the established guidelines. There are guidelines in life, some seemingly fairer than others. I am so glad that I believe there is the final authority and Judge, and He will make all things new and right.
- Sacrifice. If the manager or the game strategy dictates, a batter has to give themself up and lay down a bunt to advance a runner with the hopes of being able to score the run. There are times in life, for various reasons, sacrifice is required, and it is in those moments that what we believe is highlighted. Is it all about me? Is it about putting others in a position to advance and score the winning run?
- Sometimes the crowd is for you, and sometimes they boo! The public is fickle. Somehow the players must block out the crowd noise to succeed. You and I will have to learn the same. Do not become hostage to the crowd. Know, who you are and what you believe.
I will look for more lessons in just a few hours as I sing, “Take me out to the ballgame, ” eat some peanuts and cheer for the Tigers. I will celebrate today, the only game where the defense has the ball. So take heart; spring is here, and play ball!